NINE TIMES FOR NINE TIME? Nine-time ARCA Racing Series driving champion Frank Kimmel is second on the all-time ARCA Series win list with 74 victories behind only Iggy Katona, who leads with 79. However, Kimmel has arguably dominated at Salem over his 36 appearances at his “home” racetrack. With nine wins, 11 top five finishes and five top ten finishes at Salem Speedway since 1992, one could say he understands the track dynamics. He looks for his first victory since 2008 on the circuit – ironically, that last win coming at Salem.
SALEM, A FAMILY TRADITION: Kimmel has thirty years of experience at Salem Speedway – more years than a heavy percentage of the ARCA Racing Series field making their starts this weekend. Son Frankie and nephew Will also have histories at the track – with Frankie leading “the Kimmel charge” last year during the ARCA Racing Series race, out qualifying his dad. Frankie will be watching from pit road this year, as his focus is his studies at UNCC until his graduation next spring.
TO TEST, OR NOT TO TEST: Many of the other ARCA Racing Series teams opted in for the open test session earlier this season at Salem Speedway – but Kimmel and his crew chief, Jeriod Prince, aren’t phased. The two opted to focus on the Talladega superspeedway car instead, trusting in the experience level of their driver over the years and in his feedback to his new team.
THE BIG 5-0: Kimmel is known on the race circuit for being a “jokester,” always with a youthful smile. The Salem race weekend brings another “big” milestone for the veteran driver, as he turns fifty years old on Monday. According to Frank, that’s reason and motivation to win – he wants a big cake for something other than his age!
FROM THE TEAM PERSPECTIVE: David Pepper, ThorSport Racing’s Director of Competition, knows that momentum is key to getting in a rhythm for the No. 44 boys. “Expectations are high with this being Frank’s home track, and I know our guys are feeling the pressure. It’s just good to be back racing consistently, because it’s easier to continue momentum when you race week in and week out. Over the next month or two, we hope to show the strength of the team we built in the offseason.”
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 44 team will utilize chassis No. A-1 this weekend at Salem Speedway. A new chassis for the team during the last race in Mobile, it joins a full fleet of new race cars at the ThorSport stable in Sandusky, Ohio.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Frank Kimmel
WITH SO MANY APPEARANCES AT THIS TRACK, IS IT SAFE TO SAY IT’S YOUR FAVORITE?
Yes, that’s correct. I love a lot of these racetracks, I’m an old school racer. Salem, though, is definitely special for many reasons. It’s my home track and my family has spent so much time there; I’ve had a lot of great wins and great finishes there; and I have so many memories. The thing about it, it’s rough and has holes and is gritty – you absolutely have to race the racetrack. It’s your biggest competitor, not the guys around you. So it almost becomes an individual sport, and it’s a major challenge. I really enjoy that, and it gives you a lot of satisfaction when you can win at a place like Salem.
YOU HAD A BIG WEEKEND A FEW WEEKS AGO AT “THE ROCK” IN STREET STOCKS. WHAT HAPPENED?
Well, my series, the Frank Kimmel National Street Stocks, went to Rockingham Speedway for the first time alongside NASCAR (as the Camping World Truck Series was also present). We had a full field of 36 cars, and my son Frankie was able to pull off the lead for the last 20 or so laps and take the win. Overall, it was a pretty amazing weekend!
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO BIRTHDAY TIMES?
Being such a practical joker, I’m a little nervous to go to the racetrack – who knows what some of those guys are going to do to me! It’ll be a family weekend, and we’ll celebrate Monday between Donna and myself. To me, it’s just another year at the track, and I want to keep doing this and being competitive as long as I can. I think I can still show these young guys a thing or two!
April 29th, 2012
.555-Mile Paved High-Banked Oval
Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200
200 Laps / 111 Miles
Live Timing & Scoring at ARCARacing.com
Saturday, April 28th: Practice 12-12:45pmET; 1:15-2:00pmET
Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell: 3:00pmET
Sunday, April 29th: 2:15pmET
Current Driver Point Standings: 10th (tied)
Chassis: A-1 – last used at Mobile Int’l Speedway
Engine: TRD (Toyota Racing Development) & TRIAD
Frank Kimmel ARCA RACING SERIES results at Mobile International Speedway:
Top 5s: 11
Top 10s: 5
Total Appearances: 36 since 1992
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